Arguing a Point
Begin by reading "On Being 17, Bright and Unable to Read" by David Raymond (available through Blackboard).
The writing assignment:
Raymond received a lot of help from parents, school district, and others. Was this fair? Was this a good use of taxpayer money? Shouldn't his parents have had to pay for the therapy, tutoring, etc.?
In this second essay, choose a side (either that his parents should have had to pay for the therapy themselves or that the school district should have paid for it) and defend your position with facts and logic.
Hints for Success:
- Nobody will be persuaded by "I think that …" If you think one thing and I think the other, there's no possibility for further discussion—it's just a matter of personal taste.
- The "Just imagine if …" and "Wouldn't it be terrible if …" approaches are not really academic discussion either. Those belong in Facebook, Twitter, and greeting cards.
- The assignment says "choose a side," so an essay that tries to sit on the fence with "some say this and some say that" won't work.
- For this one, I will give you two possible thesis statements (Note that the "because" needs to be there and it needs to be more persuasive than "I feel this way" or "it seems like a good idea"):
- Raymond's family should not have had to pay for all the special education because …
- Raymond's family should have had to pay for all the special education because …
- This is quite a short paper, so one major point is about all you have space to develop. Do not do three, four, or five—writing that many would just drive you to making a list.
- Do not assume your audience knows everything about the issue; do not begin with "His family should not have to pay for all that stuff because …"
Length: The equivalent of a two-page paper. A two-page paper should be between 560 and 680 words long not counting title, your name, etc.
Format: Standard MLA format. (12-point Times Roman type, double-spaced, 1" margin all around, MLA header.)
Submitting the paper:
- The English Department wants electronic copies of all your essays this semester, so please upload the final product to the drop box in Blackboard. Some students (especially those who use Google
Docs) have trouble figuring out how to do this, so ask if you are uncertain how to proceed!
- If you have any trouble getting the Blackboard upload to work, simply print a copy and bring it to class.
- Final copy: Wednesday, September 20, 2017
This essay is worth 50 points.